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Best Tailgating Recipes

Best Tailgating Recipes

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Top Rated Tailgating Recipes

This is lighter and sweeter than your average chili and is perfect for the early fall months!Click here to see 9 Cinnamon Recipes


We Asked and You Voted. The Best (And Most Popular) Recipes For Your Tailgate

The biggest face-offs of the season have already happened: We asked our Instagram followers to pick the winners of the best tailgating foods. We pitted burgers against hot dogs (of course), chili versus chowder, and more. Which ones scored big as MVPs? You may be surprised. What won’t surprise you, however, is the fact that, when all the winners come together, you’re left with one winning menu. Luckily, we have plenty of recipe options for each.

Keep reading to plan your ultimate tailgating menu.

Burgers vs. Hot Dogs

When you think about all the fun toppings and things you can do with burgers, it’s no wonder that they slid into the winning position here with 64 percent of the votes. (That means hot dogs got 36 percent.) Beyond the usual lettuce, tomato and onions, burgers can get topped with all sorts of cheeses, sauces, veggies and even pulled pork or mac and cheese (though those do make it harder to eat while standing up at a tailgate). When it comes the patty itself, you can play around with the meat-to-fat ratio and pick your blend ( Michael Mina likes a blend of brisket, chuck and short rib). Your options really are limitless.

Narrow Things Down: 6 Hamburger Recipes to Bookmark Now

Chili vs. Chowder

In our biggest blowout of the competition, chili won 77 percent to 23 percent. Sorry, chowder, you’re good and all, but people just don’t seem to think of you as a tailgating food. Chili is just so classic — even if you mix things up and think outside of the box. One of our favorite chili recipes, which we call Game Day Chili , includes beef and sweet potatoes, can be made a day or two in advance and has a secret ingredient (a splash of tequila!). And, whether or not you believe that beans belong in chili, we’ve got you covered.

Read More: Chili Recipes for Game Day

Guacamole vs. 7-Layer Dip

People are still obsessed with avocados: Guacamole beat out 7-layer dip, 63 to 37 percent. (Yes, we know that most people put a layer of guac in 7-layer dip, but it seems like people would rather have it so that ALL the layers are guac.) It helps that guac is easier to make. Our simple recipe has been called “perfect” and “life-changing” by some of our shoppers. The ingredient list reads the same as many others that you’ll find online, it’s just that our recipe actually calls for a molcajete (a mortar and pestle carved from volcanic rock) and it really does make a difference. Make the guac at home and store it in a cooler in an air-tight container until it’s time to eat.

Get the Recipe: Guacamole

Corn vs. Potato Salad

In the closest matchup of them all, potato salad won with just 52 percent of the votes! (Because so many on you voted for corn, here’s our favorite grilled corn recipe , which gets topped with autumnal maple cayenne butter.) Once again, with potato salad, you have tons of choices. Do you want a creamy potato salad ? A German one? One with fried potatoes ? You can’t go wrong with any choice—democracy says so.

Our Best Potato Salad Recipes:

  • Old-Fashioned Potato Salad
  • Creamy Potato Salad
  • French-Style Potato Salad
  • Greek Potato Salad
  • Grilled Potato Salad

Ribs vs. Wings

Another surprisingly close one, wings soared to the winner’s circle with 57 percent of the vote. Honestly, we’re glad: Wings are the best snacks to order at a sports bar and they’re only better when they’re homemade (or parking-lot-made). Go with the classic buffalo style or try one of our unique takes. Just make sure you have a place for people to toss their leftover bones.

40 More Spectacular Tailgate Party Foods

Fall is in the air!! And that means it is tailgate party season (and I guess football season too!). College football just kicked off a few weeks ago. We love gathering together with friends and family to enjoy the big game! But it’s the food that really brings us all together! Ha Ha! We have another great roundup of some delicious recipes that will make your tailgate party a breeze and get rave reviews! Happy Tailgating!!

Hot Bacon and Swiss Dip

Slow Cooker Baked Beans

Buffalo Chicken Salad Sandwiches

Slow Cooker Sticky Chicken Wings

Fall Off the Bone BBQ Ribs

Barbecue Macaroni Salad

Sweet and Salty M&M Pretzel Cookies

Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad

Baked Cheeseburger Sliders

Baked Garlic Parmesan Fries

Pizza Dip

Cheesy Bacon Tots

Hawaiian Hamburger Sliders

Chocolate Chip Cheese Ball

Barbecue Little Smokies

Warm Bacon Cheese Dip

Chicken and Waffle Sliders

Loaded Blonde Brownies

Loaded Baked Nachos

Chicken Chili Con Queso Dip

Mini Taco Bites

Guacamole Bacon Burger

Buffalo Chicken Quesadillas

Slow Cooker Dr. Pepper Pulled Pork

BBQ Cups

Baked Southwest Egg Rolls

Caribbean Jerk Chicken wings
BBQ Bacon Water Chestnuts

Tailgate Sandwiches

Slow Cooker Warm Chili Cheese Dip

Peanut Butter S’mores Bars

Tex-Mex Fiesta Bake

Mini Pizza Pockets

Cinnamon Churro Chex Mix

Baked Red Potato Wedges

Buffalo chicken Crescent Rolls

Honey Glazed Turkey Meatballs

Caramelized Onion Beef Sliders

Hometown Honey Chipotle Chicken Wings

Samoas Popcorn

Football food: Kansas City ribwich, Rhode Island-style chicken wings

The first game of the season is the Kansas City Chiefs vs. the New England Patriots. Grill master Megan Day from Kansas City is facing off with chef Jason Santos from New England.

Day is cooking up a smoky baby back rib sandwich with smoked pit beans while Santos is preparing kettle-cooked potato chips with clam dip, Rhode Island-style chicken wings and corn on the cob topped with maple mayo, farmer's cheese and bacon jam.

Morning Football Games

Did you know that I’m a big college football fan? In fact, our whole family is and that means college football is usually at least part of every weekend throughout the entire fall. Specifically, we’re HUGE Nebraska Cornhusker fans! And while morning kick-offs are not always super common during football season (or at least early mornings anyway), we sometimes have 11:00am kick-offs. With the time difference, that’s only 9:00am here. And for stadium tailgaters who show up hours before the game, even an 11:00am kick-off definitely means breakfast tailgating! So breakfast-time tailgates definitely call for some delicious breakfast food!

Getting to Arrowhead Stadium:

If it is your first time heading to a Kansas City Chiefs game, there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure a seamless experience.

Z Trip gets you much closer to the stadium and tailgate lots compared to Lyft and Uber, as they have a dedicated partnership with the Chiefs. You can pre-schedule a Z Trip to pick you up.

If you don’t mind walking further, and want to be on your own timeline, you can take another ride share company.

Additionally, if you don’t mind driving, you can also pay for parking at the stadium.

Arrowhead Stadium is about eight miles from downtown, but traffic gets quite heavy, as you can imagine.

Leave earlier than planned to ensure you have enough time to tailgate.

Week Five: Adding Some Spice

At the risk of offending LSU fans, we're going to try our hands at a cajun-spiced recipe. Most of the country doesn't live in Louisiana, and most of the country isn't intimately familiar with the various kinds of cajun spices and recipes. So our friends in Baton Rouge will have to forgive us while we muddle through. Hopefully, the folks down in the bayou will find this at least palatable.

This recipe is best when you have enough time to prepare it. There are some schools that (gasp) limit tailgating hours—some to as little as four hours (for shame!). If you're heading to one of these locations, this probably is a recipe that you'll need to prepare a bit at home before you leave.

From start to finish, this recipe will take at least a couple hours to complete.

You're going to need the following: 4 pounds of pork spareribs, 3 tablespoons of chili powder (more to taste), 3 teaspoons of black pepper, 2 teaspoons of salt, 2 teaspoons of onion powder, 2 teaspoons of garlic powder, 1 teaspoon of thyme, 1 teaspoon of oregano.

Mix the dry ingredients, trim and clean the ribs. Rub the ribs with the dry mix, and let the ribs sit for at least one hour. Preheat the grill, and cook the ribs over medium heat for 45 minutes. Turn the ribs once. You'll need to keep a close eye on your ribs to ensure that they don't burn. There's nothing worse than ribs with a crispy coating. If you're new to ribs, a good rule of thumb is to put a knife through the meat between the ribs. If it passes through easily, and there's no pink visible, they're done.

This recipe is surprising simple. It's easy enough that rib novices should be able to handle it without ruining perfectly good meat, yet delicious enough that even rib experts will enjoy the results.

For extra seasoning tips, consult the nearest LSU fan.

Related Articles

A I’m a die-hard Kansas City Chiefs fan.

Q Ultimate tailgate food?

A Barbecue is the ultimate tailgate food. But if I were going to pick one dish, it would be something fast and simple, like potato skins stuffed with burnt ends, green onion, blue cheese and sauteed peppers. It incorporates a bunch of good, wholesome food and also has the barbecue aspect.

Q What’s your top tailgate tip?

A Always plan for more. The party always ends up growing bigger than what you expect.

Q What’s the biggest Hail Mary you’ve pulled off, culinarily speaking?

A There was one holiday season we were catering for Harley-Davidson at one of their manufacturing plants. They wanted to serve all three shifts — about 2,000 people — steak and lobster. We didn’t have tanks large enough to boil all that lobster, so we had to weld our own tanks. It was pretty much 36 hours of nonstop cooking.

Q Besides Char Bar, where should we dine in KC?

A My favorite is LuLu’s (, a Thai noodle place. One of the better brunches here in town is Rye ( they do a nice spread.

Tailgate Taters

1 pound pulled smoked chicken

¼ cup Creole blackening seasoning

1 green bell pepper, diced

1 tablespoon garlic, minced

8 ounce shredded pepper jack cheese

1 bunch green onions, chopped

Chipotle BBQ Mayo (see recipe)

Buttermilk Chive Ranch (see recipe)

Pickled jalapeños, optional

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Parbake the potatoes for 30-45 minutes, depending on size. Let cool.

2. Slice potatoes in half lengthwise. Scoop out the middle with a spoon, leaving about 1/4 inch of potato in the skin. (Reserve potato flesh for potato salad, soup or gnocchi.)

3. Raise oven temperature to 400 degrees. Brush hollowed-out skins lightly all over with olive oil season with salt and pepper. Place potatoes cut-side down on a rimmed baking sheet, then bake for 7-8 minutes more. Remove tray, then turn potatoes cut-side up return to oven for another 7-8 minutes, or until golden brown and crisp on the edges.

4. Meanwhile, heat a saute pan over medium-high heat. Add a teaspoon of olive oil, then the chicken, blackening seasoning and salt and pepper to taste. Cook until the chicken starts to caramelize. Transfer to a large mixing bowl. Return pan to heat, adding a little more olive oil saute peppers and garlic until just tender. Add peppers to chicken. Let cool.

5. Mix in sour cream, pepper jack and green onions. Stuff each potato with a liberal amount of filling. Return stuffed potatoes to the 400-degree oven or a preheated grill, then cook until cheese starts to melt and brown, about 5 minutes. Drizzle with Chipotle BBQ Mayo, your favorite ranch dressing and top with pickled jalapeños.

Chipotle BBQ Mayo

Note: Char Bar’s recipe calls for Duke’s Mayo and its own table sauce, but feel free to use your favorite mayonnaise and sauce for this recipe.

1 cup mayonnaise (Duke’s preferred)

¼cup chipotles in adobo, pureed

Blend together in a food processor season with salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Buttermilk Chive Ranch

Note: Roast a whole garlic head — cut off the top of the garlic, drizzle with olive oil, wrap in foil and roast — at the same time you roast the potatoes.

Breakfast tailgating: Delicious recipes to help you plan ahead and keep it simple

If you have an early football game, here is a recipe for breakfast tailgating: The Bacon Bloody Mary.

A few years ago, I was in Minneapolis tailgating with friends for the University of Minnesota's homecoming game against Northwestern. We got to the parking lot around 8:30 in the morning, to party before the 11 a.m. kickoff. Our host, Chad Jaeger, started the festivities with a hearty breakfast chili &mdash rich and creamy, it was packed with crumbled bacon and sausage, beans, cheddar cheese and diced egg. It was the perfect way to warm up a bunch of Gopher fans on a chilly, 45-degree morning.

For those of us who love to tailgate, this is one party that&rsquos as much about the food as it is about the actual game. And while it may be easy to fortify the gang before an afternoon or evening game, how do you plan around an early kick-off? Because not everyone&rsquos ready to tackle a cheeseburger or a rack of ribs first thing in the morning.

And why should they? If anything, breakfast or brunch tailgates should really become a thing. At many restaurants, breakfast is the most popular meal of the day, and brunch itself has become the muse of many a chef. There&rsquos no reason we can&rsquot riff on some of those dishes for our pre-game festivities &mdash particularly for those of us on the West Coast who frequently suffer through early games to satisfy East Coast programming bias. Nothing will set a sleepy tailgater&rsquos circadian rhythm right faster than a filling breakfast and beverage to match.

Breakfast chili. (Glenn Koenig / Los Angeles Times)

That breakfast chili is easy enough to make, and one I frequently turn to when I&rsquom planning an early tailgate: Simply combine the ingredients in a portable slow cooker over low heat, so the flavors have time to come together the night before. On game day, plug the cooker into a car adapter to keep the chili warm on the way to the stadium. Once your tailgate is set up, put the chili out with crackers, extra green onions, shredded cheese and hot sauce so your guests can customize to taste.

Breakfast chili not your thing? Get creative. Try cooking shakshuka on the grill &mdash the spiced pepper, onion and egg dish is an easy choice if you&rsquore cooking outdoors. Assemble a stack of croque-madame sandwiches &mdash bread layered with plenty of ham and cheese &mdash then dip them to order in egg and brown them with plenty of butter on a griddle until the cheese just begins to ooze. It&rsquos like a grilled cheese on steroids. A friend once made a pot of congee for an early tailgate, served with a variety of toppings.

For those guests with a sweet tooth, bake your items ahead of time, then warm them up at the game. I&rsquoll fix a batch of sticky buns or French toast muffin bites the night before and refrigerate them until I&rsquom ready to head to the party. At the tailgate, I&rsquoll gently heat them on a closed grill, still in the tin, until the sticky buns slide out easily, and the French toast bites are puffed up and warm, and the streusel topping is fragrant.

As with any great tailgate, the trick is to plan ahead and keep it simple. I try to make as much food as possible before I leave the house, and heat up what I need once I&rsquom set up at the party.

Breakfast tailgate checklist:

  • GRILL: It&rsquos not just for burgers. Your grill can double as an oven or stove. Top with a griddle or skillet for stove-top cooking. Or heat one side of the grill and add food you&rsquod like to warm to the other the indirect heat will warm the food up gently without burning.
  • GRIDDLE: A great tool to have if you&rsquore whipping up pancakes, cooking hash browns or toasting English muffins or bagels. It also works well when cooking sausage patties and other fatty foods that might flare up directly over flames.
  • SKILLET: Also good for pancakes, country potatoes or one-dish meals such as hash.
  • PROPANE BURNER: An easy, smaller option if you don&rsquot want to carry around a large grill.
  • PORTABLE SLOW COOKER: Available at most home goods stores, these are built to be transported, so you can cook and carry your dish anywhere.
  • COOLER: A must for keeping foods and beverages cold before serving.
  • THERMOS: Perfect for storing hot items including coffee, or water if you&rsquore packing an Aeropress for the coffee aficianados &mdash and gravy.

Don&rsquot forget the drinks:

Finally, don&rsquot forget the beverages. Most thermoses will keep hot beverages &mdash coffee, cocoa or cider &mdash warm for hours. And it&rsquos never too early for a cocktail. Mimosas are an easy choice for morning tailgates. If you have fresh fruit, consider making a pitcher of sangrias.

If there&rsquos one thing I always fix for an early tailgate, it&rsquos a batch of bloody Mary mix. Serve it with vodka or tequila (a bloody Maria), or combine it with beer for a michelada. It&rsquos easy to put together &mdash combine tomatoes with a bunch of flavorings and blend. My secret ingredient is blending in a few strips of crisp bacon, which gives the mix extra heft and richness. As my friend and fellow tailgate aficionado Chris Erskine likes to say, &ldquoIt&rsquos like vodka gazpacho.&rdquo

The Best Food And Cocktail Pairings For The Home Tailgate

This year, most of us are cheering from the sofa rather than the sidelines, and if we have to stay home then all the more reason to up your food and drink game. Think of it this way, we’ll be prepared for next year with a fully-vetted line up of home-tested recipes and pairings. Consider vodka, rum, and whiskey to be your new spice rack, these cocktails make pleasing companions to everything from ice cream to Japanese curry. Go team.

Kilbeggan Irish Whiskey and Ice Cream Pairings

The No-Brainer: Whiskey and Ice Cream

The Irish know their dairy products—especially ice cream and there is no finer pairing for such creamy decadence than Irish whiskey. Kilbeggan, which is the world’s oldest continually licensed whiskey distillery, makes a Single Pot Still Limited Edition expression made with Irish oats. It’s the first whiskey in Ireland to be crafted with oats—giving it a uniquely creamy texture and make it a beautiful match with ice cream. An inspired pairing would be orange-flavored ice cream, but vanilla will do nicely in a pinch. Pass around scoops and drizzle with a bit of the Single Pot Still for the best version of a whiskey dreamsicle you’ve ever had.

Gettin’ Fancy: Vodka and Japanese Curry

Japanese chefs often use curry bricks, pre-made blocks of curry spices, salt, flour and butter, to whip up an easy batch of curry. Made with a variety of vegetables and a protein of your choice (chicken thighs, tofu, shrimp, etc.), this is an aromatically rich, flavorful, and often spicy dish that calls for a refreshing, fizzy cocktail. For an easy curry hack look to the quick curry brick kits from Chef Sonoko Sakai. For your cocktail, stick to the Japanese theme and pour Haku Vodka—it’s buttery-soft flavor profile is a nice foil for curry. You might even spike your curry broth with a shot or two of Haku for some added punch.

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4.5 parts chilled premium soda water

Fill a highball glass to the brim with ice. Add Haku vodka and gently pour chilled soda water. Stir and garnish with a lemon peel.

Classy Riff: Rum and Seafood

Owner and native of Trinidad, Marc Farrell launched his Ten To One Rum brand in 2019—with the intention of focusing drinkers on ultra-premium rums as sipping drinks not just fodder for fruity umbrella cocktails. He likes his rum clean and smooth—and paired with curry. “For our Ten To One White Martini we use our premium white rum and a blanc vermouth, and by adding just a touch of orange bitters, are able to create this really clean, herbaceous cocktail that pairs well with seafood (shrimp cocktail anyone?) and spicy dishes without competing too much with those flavors. I like to drink my rum martinis with curried chicken, which is a traditional dish from back home in Trinidad, but any curry will do."

Ten To One Martini

2 fl oz Ten To One White Rum

Garnish with lemon peel or grapefruit peel

Instructions: Stir all ingredients with ice and strain into glass. Garnish with lemon peel

Comfort Drink: Apple Cider Margarita and Apple Pie

A co-op of agave farmers in Mexico are the brains and talent behindTanteo Tequila. Infused, and bottled by hand in Juanacatlán, Mexico, their chipotle-infused exxpression is a spicy, unique riff on tequila, perfect for harvest-fall inspired dishes. Consider it for anything pumpkin (pie, soup, bread) or just a big slice of apple pie after a barbecue dinner.

Tanteo Chipotle Apple Cider Margarita

1.5 oz. Tanteo Chipotle Tequila

0.75 oz. Light Agave Nectar

Directions: Combine ingredients in a warmed Toddy Glass Stir to mix flavors. Top with cinnamon and nutmeg.

Chili Classic: Negroni Lucano and Game Day Chili

Amaro Lucano is a nicely balanced amaro offering (not too bitter, not too sweet) and a blend of more than 30 herbs. The top notes of citrus and spice make it a refreshing parnter to a game day chili. You can easily just pour it over ice and drink with your spicy dish, or use it t craft a riff on the traditional negroni. Instead of gin, sweet vermouth and Campari—for this drink, substitute the Campari wtih the Amaro. it will lend it a bit more sweetness, perfect to stand up against the spice. It’s also a great pairing with meats, salty dishes, and cheese.

Negroni Lucano

Add all the ingredients into a mixing glass with ice and stir until well chilled. Strain into a rocks glass filled with large ice cubes. Garnish with an orange slice.


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